Out of Sight, Never Out of Mind: How to Handle a Long Distance Engagement

Long Distance Engagement

Photo: Getty Images

FaceTime is the next best thing to being there when you and your fiancé are forced to live apart.

When Stefany Alongo and Tony Fuger met at a mutual friend's wedding, the spark was instantaneous. They knew there was something worth exploring. Alas, she lived in Palm Beach and his home was in Milwaukee. The courtship, according to Stefany, involved lots of "virtual dates, flower deliveries, homemade gifts sent via USPS, and romantic rendezvous in our respective hometowns and in cities across the United States."

Two years later Tony proposed. The engagement period created a new set of stressors: making the zillions of big and little decisions that go into planning a wedding as a team when you are 1,500 miles apart. This necessitated clear, constant and honest communication. Recalls Stefany, "On a weekly basis we discussed our expectations for the wedding. For major vendor meetings Tony joined us via FaceTime." She finishes, "He arrived a week before the wedding so we could get our license and finish the last minute details together."

If Tony and Stefany's situation sounds familiar, here are some tips to stay close when your pillow talk is mostly virtual:

Limit wedding planning conversations: Clearly, it's hard enough to schedule schmooze time when you live in different time zones. Staying connected becomes that much more difficult when most if not all of your precious contact revolves around choosing menus and devising seating plans. Instead, do fun activities together virtually — watch a movie on Netflix or cook the same recipe at the same time.

Have real face time versus FaceTime as often as possible: Technology is wonderful. However, especially when so much of your energy is focused on the upcoming big day, you need to refuel and reconnect by spending time together in the flesh.

Delegate: Part of teamwork is picking tasks that play to your different strengths and weaknesses. If he's the better DJ let him plan the wedding song playlist while you take care of the wedding registry.

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

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